"Pioneers of Nathalia and District"
The Chairman of the immigration board at Port Phillip, was not overly impressed with the appearance of the immigrants who had arrived after a voyage of 111 days, on board the "William Stewart", on 15th May 1848.
"Although three young children have died, the remainder of the passengers have remained remarkably healthy", he wrote "but the description and general appearance of the passengers appears to be amongst the most miserable that have here-to-fore reached the district".
Not a wonderful description of the Fleming Family who were amongst the 233 passengers on board. Andrew and Ellen Fleming, both aged 38, and their six children, William Finlay 17, Annie 12, Ellen 11, Mary Ann 7, James 6 and Andrew 4, had left their home in Galloway shire, Wigton, Scotland, to make a new life in Australia.
William had travelled in the "unmarried males" quarters and was hired immediately upon arrival while still on board, by David Anderson, to work as a waiter at his hotel at Burbank (Lexton).
The remainder of the family were sent to the Government Depot before they could find employment.
Ellen was the daughter of William and Marion Finley, nee Bride, and this name Finley/Finlay, is carried through later generations as a forename.
It is not known what became of Andrew Snr, but his wife Ellen died at Nhill in 1885, where she had been living with her granddaughter Mary Connary. (sic) ...(Convary)
William spent some years in the Clunes area working as a shepherd, farm hand and miner. He later purchased a team and worked for some years in the carrying business, before moving to Melbourne where he was employed as the the town Herdsman.
Before coming to Kotupna where he selected Allotment 22, he was a butcher at Creswick.
By 1897 he and his family were living in a four roomed weatherboard house, lined inside with deal and measuring 25 x 21 feet. His land was well fenced, some four acres were sown with wheat, 22 acres of trees had been rung with the dead wood cleared, and he had established an orchard containing 60 fruit trees.
William had married Ann Jane Knight in 1852 with their family of thirteen children, Anne Jane, William James, Ellen, Sarah, Donald, Alice, Finlay, Moses, Ruth, Matilda, Christina, John Knight and Selina, all being born before the family moved to Kotupna. Three of these sons, William James, Finlay and Moses also farmed at Kotupna before most of the family moved to the Wangaratta area in the early 1900's.
William Finley died in 1911 at Whitfield, with his wife living another nine years before she passed away at Wangaratta in 1920.
A great grand daughter of William Finley Fleming, Mrs Joe Waite, still lives at Nathalia and her great grandchildren make the 7th generation of this family to live in the Nathalia Shire.